Cougs will be road warriors in 2009

THE PAC-10 SCHEDULE MAKERS have spoken. The 2009 Washington State football schedule, officially released today, features a Pac-10 season opener, a San Antonio date and only five games in Martin Stadium. WSU opens the season at home with Stanford, takes a midseason Texas trip to take on Notre Dame on Halloween and will navigate a stretch where five of six games will be on the road.

WSU will meet Pac-10 opponents Stanford, ASU, UCLA and Oregon State at home. The Cougs also play an annual game in Seattle, Cougar Gridiron Classic, making for six "home" games in '09. The Cougs will also meet Notre Dame on a neutral field, in San Antonio on Halloween.

In addition to the Irish, the Cougs will play Hawaii (in Seattle) and SMU in non-conference games. It will be the first meeting between Washington State and SMU.

The Sept. 5 season opener against Stanford in Pullman marks the first time since the 2000 season WSU has opened against a conference opponent.

The 2009 slate will be the first time since 1978 that the Cougars have played its first three games in front of their home fans. Starting with the Sep. 26 game at USC, the Cougs will play five of their next six games on the road, with a bye week sandwiched in the weekend of Oct. 10.

Three other conference teams will challenge the Cougars in Pullman, beginning with Arizona State Oct. 10, which will be part of Homecoming Weekend festivities. A Nov. 14 matchup against UCLA, part of Dad's Weekend, is followed by a Nov. 21 contest against Oregon State, which closes out the 2009 home schedule.

Unlike most seasons, where the Cougs play all their non-conference games and then delve into conference play, the Cougars' final non-conference tilt in '09 comes against Notre Dame on Halloween.

The Apple Cup caps off the Wazzu regular season on Nov. 28, two days after Thanksgiving.

"I am excited about our 2009 opponents," Washington State University Director of Athletics Jim Sterk said in releasing this year's schedule. "I think this is a very challenging schedule with three highly-regarded non-conference opponents to go along with the always-difficult conference slate."

The 2009 WSU football schedule:

Sept. 5 - Stanford at Pullman
Sept. 12 - Hawaii at Seattle
Sept. 19 - Southern Methodist at Pullman
Sept. 26 - USC at Los Angeles
Oct. 3 - Oregon at Eugene
Oct. 10 - Arizona State at Pullman (Homecoming)
Oct. 17 - Bye
Oct. 24 - California at Berkeley
Oct. 31 - Notre Dame at San Antonio
Nov. 7 - Arizona at Tucson
Nov. 14 - UCLA at Pullman
Nov. 21 - Oregon State at Pullman
Nov. 28 - Washington at Seattle

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